Obama had successful presidency
In the largest scheme of things, history will judge the Obama presidency. However, it is unlikely that history will claim this presidency the “worst in our history” as Republican presidential candidates like to claim, or the “best ever” as the presidents’ supporters would argue. Like everything in our world, an evaluation is complicated.
But recent polling has shown an increase in the popularity of this president as his time in office draws to a close.
The presidents’ favorability rating is currently at 53 percent. This Compares to Bernie Sanders rating of 48 percent, Hillary Clinton at 40 percent, and Donald Trump and Ted Cruz tied at 26 percent favorability, according to a recent Associated Press GfK survey.
Obama’s job rating, tracked in polling summary at Real Clear Politics, stands at 49 percent. This is the highest rating in the last three years for Obama.
These ratings have not come without many, many presidency event-shaping moments during Obama’s two terms in the White House. This president has seen the nation through the worst of the Great Recession, the downsizing of two wars, the housing crisis, republican refusal to act on virtually any economic front, and the ongoing challenge of a Middle East in political turmoil.
Still, there are positive results that are undeniable during the last seven and a-half years, including this from Factcheck.org as of third quarter 2015:
Over 8.4 million jobs created; unemployment at 5 percent (full employment number is 5 percent); job openings up 108 percent; business start-ups up 19 percent; long-term unemployed down 600,000; and real weekly earnings up 3.1 percent
The stock market is nearing an all-time high, the price of gas, adjusted to inflation, is near an all-time low. U.S. crude oil production is up 90 percent and oil imports are down 59 percent. Wind and solar power growth are up 258 percent.
Auto sales may have their best year ever in 2016 and consumer confidence is high. There is a genuine optimism about the economy that has been absent for far too long.
The recovery is not without its flaws however. Real family income growth is down 3.1 percent. Home ownership is down 4.1 percent. The poverty rate has increased slightly and the number of people on Food Stamps is up significantly, all indicators that for many families there are still economic hurdles to overcome.
Perhaps the most significant concern is the 107 percent increase in the national debt during the Obama presidency, most of which occurred in 2008-2010, when the recession was at its worst. Government tried several things to stimulate the economy during that time, all debt creating, all limited in their success.
For the next president, the economy must certainly be addressed as the deficits are projected to rise in the next few years, adding to an already too high national debt.
But for now, for 2016 the presidential election year, the strong economic numbers, the low price of gas, the growth of the housing and auto markets, all suggest that the democratic candidate may well benefit from running their campaign on continuing the Obama domestic policies.
In spite of the gloom and doom our republican friends would like to cast on the economy, the facts make false those claims. The rise in Obama’s popularity indicates the American people are now noting the contributions of Obama’s calm, cool leadership as a steady hand for America, and continuing those policies might ensure continued growth and prosperity.
Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.